Storm Season Is Coming: If Power Goes Out, Will Your IT Survive?
Customer Scenario: It was 4 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon when a thunderstorm knocked out power to a mid-size business. By the time the IT tech could get to the office 45 minutes later, the backup batteries were already drained, all the servers and computer systems were down, and they couldn’t begin recovery until power was restored. The next day when they tried to recover the systems, several older systems failed and needed replacement—which shut the office down for several days.
Could this happen to you?
Power outages are always real possibilities—regardless of where your business is located. They could be caused by a seasonal hurricane, high winds that take down a power line, or a lightning strike to a transformer. But the impact is always the same: sudden loss of power, and if you’re not prepared, a sense of panic.
If your servers, applications, and data reside in your office, a power outage will create a serious challenge. None of your computer systems, VOIP systems or internet will work. You won’t be able to see clients or customers. You can’t review documents. And if your servers and network infrastructure are kept on-premise, you could have some larger problems.
When the power goes out unexpectedly, your systems will automatically failover to batteries, if you have battery backups, which are good for about 30 minutes. Normally, that gives you enough time to safely shut down all of your servers and systems, so they can be brought back online properly when power is restored. But if the power outage happens in the middle of the night, your systems could simply shut off—and it can be tricky to get them back online after this type of incident, especially when systems are older.
Here’s why: When you shut down servers that have been running at high temperatures continuously for 4-5 years, there’s a strong chance that’s the time they break. Once they cool down, they simply may not wake up again.
If that happens, you’ll need to replace the hardware. And if you don’t have a service contract, or if the gear has gone out of service or is nearing end of life, you’ll be stuck—and you’ll need to rebuild from scratch. It could easily take several weeks to get new gear installed and online. Meanwhile, your business is at a standstill.
Are you willing to accept this risk?
To avoid potential problems with power outages, don’t rely on on-site servers—move everything off-site. The fewer servers that you keep on-premise, the better. Moving to a cloud-based strategy eliminates the risk altogether. It’s the smartest way to go—and provides many other advantages, too.
In addition, move all of your software to the cloud. For example, transition to Office 365, which is all in the cloud. It’s not on-premise, so it’s not impacted by a power outage. You can still access what you need. Finally, make sure all of your on-site gear is covered by a service agreement, has a battery backup, and that your vendor partner is experienced, knowledgeable and responsive.